I've been maintaining this blog (for better or for worse) over the last eight years. Over these years, its natural evolution has led it into becoming something of a niche place for discussion of music in general and Qawwali in particular. Rather than trying to return my existing blog to its pre-Qawwali eclectic roots, I decided I’d start anew on Tumblr. So if you’re interested in music, Qawwali and subcontinental culture, keep reading/listening/watching/commenting here. For all of the above and everything else under the sun, head on over to my Tumblr page .

Thursday, April 22, 2010

...On Leaving Pindi

Two days from now, I am leaving Rawalpindi. For good.

All in all, I've spent at least 8 years of my life here, and now me and my family are packing up and moving to Lahore. Which is something I've been looking forward to for a long while; Lahore being my favorite city. But still, it's not without a (very) heavy heart that I say goodbye to what has been my surrogate hometown.

We first moved to Rawalpindi when I was in 7th grade, and I liked the place at first sight. Our house was in Harley Street (which makes me a bona fide Harley Street medical practitioner now), and the place was quiet enough, with just enough kids to play with, just enough roof space to fly kites, and just enough of a lawn to sneak out into during the afternoon nap timings. School was 2 minutes walk away, and the thela-wala outside school accepted IOUs. The house next to ours was perennially filed with carpenters, so we indulged in custom-made cricket bats and wickets. My favorite places in Pindi were the Army Central Library, which I ransacked, and Bombeat on Bank Road, that sold John Denver tapes and fueled my early and thankfully short lived boy-band craze.

The second time I moved to Pindi was as a cadet in AM College, and for the next 5 years, Pindi's been my homebase even though my family's shifted homes thrice. I can't even begin to count the number of miles I've clocked walking to and from Saddar, Murree Road, Tench and my hostels. Sadaf, City Hut, Bunny Chowk, KFC, Namak Mandi, Cinepax and Variety Books; i've probably spent more time here than in my dorm room.

And then there's Islamabad, every time the weather was benign, I could always count on three or four people to bunk their wards and head off to Pir Sohawa or the lake or Daman-e-Koh or just about anywhere. The "Lake View Park Fiasco", the "Quaid-e-Azam University Saga", the "Affair Of The Pizza Hut" are just some of the stories that I'll be recalling with my friends decades from now.

Even though, or maybe because Islamabad is a "planned" city, I've always manages to get lost in it. The sectors are confusing, the roads are all alike and the signboards all point the same way. Maybe that's why I like it so much, it lets me wander freely and in the end always leads me to where I want to go. The drives along Kashmir Highway, 7th Avenue and the Murree Expressway were and will remain memorable.

I've written somewhere earlier about the fact that moving house every two to three years precludes any long-term friendships and makes it easy for social retards like me to lose contact with all my friends and acquaintances of the previous city. But Pindi's finally got me. The friends I've made here, especially in AM College, are the don't-you-dare-lose-touch-or-ELSE!! kind.

And I sure as hell ain't planning on losing touch. Both with my friends, and with Pindi.

Books Of The Week, American Pastoral, Philip Roth. How To Be Good,Nick Hornby.
Movies Of The Week, Alice In Wonderland, Shutter Island, The Hurt Locker, Clash Of The Titans.
Songs Of The Week, The Wallflowers Discography, Karen Dalton, Mehboob Qawwal.

Monday, April 19, 2010

...Of Freedom And How I Chose To Celebrate It

It's been exactly 24 hours since I landed back home from PMA. My five and a half years of cadet-ship are finally over and the prospect of finally starting my career as a doctor beckons. My stay at PMA was interesting to say the least, and the immense relief I felt on finally passing out is difficult to describe. However, after 6 months of (near)total isolation from all things good and healthy, I was rearing and champing at the bit, ready to "git".

In the past 24 hours, I've...

   Downloaded at least two GB's worth of music.
   Watched Alice In Wonderland (which was awesome) and Clash Of The Titans(which sucked a**e)
   Gone out and bought a Philip Roth, a Nick Hornby and a Calvin And Hobbes anthology.
   Actually managed to write these four or five lines.

   All in all, a pretty decent recuperation if I do say so myself.